Choosing to commit to vegan fashion is an impactful part of a vegan lifestyle!
Furs, leather and wool have negative impacts on the animals and the planet too, so good on you for making an effort to choose more compassionate options when it comes to your closet!
To start, please be gentle with yourself. It’s totally normal for clothes shopping to feel like new and unknown territory at this stage. It can also be hard to determine whether to keep and wear through your existing non-vegan pieces. Trust that however you choose to go about this process is okay!
Whether you’re choosing to purge your closet completely, or simply want to stop contributing to animal cruelty by way of new clothing purchases moving forward, I hope this list will prove to be a helpful guide!
These fabrics are man-made synthetics, derived from plants, or a combination of both.
- Acrylic – A Synthetic Fabric (most often used in sweaters)
- Bamboo – A cloth or yarn made from bamboo fibres
- Batiste – A lightweight, semi-sheer cotton fabric; used for heirloom sewing, lingerie, and blouses
- Calico – A plain-woven textile made from unbleached and often not fully processed cotton
- Canvas – Durable, plain woven fabric
- Chenille – Commonly manufactured from cotton, but can also be made using acrylic, rayon and olefin
- Chino – Twill Fabric, made of 100% cotton
- Corduroy – composed of tufted cords
- Cotton – Thread, yarn, or cloth made from cotton, a soft, fluffy staple fiber that grows in a boll around the seeds of the cotton plants
- Denim – Sturdy cotton warp-faced textile in which the weft passes under two or more warp threads
- Duck Cotton (Duck Cloth, Duck Canvas) – Heavy, plain woven cotton fabric, more tightly woven than canvas
- Elastane – Elastic polyurethane material
- Faux-Leather – Man Made material such as PVC or Polyutherane (a synthetic resin in which the polymer units are linked by urethane groups)
- Flannelette – Cotton fabric imitating flannel
- Gingham – Lightweight plain-woven cotton cloth, typically checked
- Hemp – Fiber of the cannabis plant
- Khaki – Sturdy twilled cloth usually made from cotton and linen
- Lame – Fabric interwoven with threads of metal
- Linen – Cloth woven from flax
- Lyocell – Rayon which consists of cellulose fibre made from dissolving pulp
- Madras – Lightweight cotton fabric typically patterned in texture
- Microfiber – Made of very fine synthetic yarn
- Modal – A semi-synthetic cellulose fiber (a type of rayon)
- Moleskin – Heavy cotton fabric, woven and then sheared
- Muslin – Plain-woven cotton fabric
- Nylon – A tough, lightweight, elastic synthetic polymer
- Oilcloth – A canvas coated with linseed or other oil
- Orlon – A synthetic acrylic fiber used for textiles and knitwear
- Polar Fleece – A soft napped insulating fabric made from polyester
- Polyester – fabric made from synthetic polyester fiber
- Rayon – Textile fabric made from regenerated cellulose (viscose)
- Sateen – Cotton fabric woven like satin with a glossy surface
- Seersucker – Printed cotton or synthetic fabric with a surface of puckered and flat sections, typically in a striped pattern
- Spandex – Synthetic fiber known for its exceptional elasticity
- Ultrasuede – Trade name for a synthetic ultra-microfiber fabric & type of microfiber
- Velour – Plush, knitted fabricsimilar, usually made from cotton, but can also be made from synthetic materials
- Viscose – Semi-synthetic fabric or fiber made from a viscous solution of cellulose
- Voile – Soft, sheer fabric, usually made of 100% cotton or a cotton blend
Non Vegan Fabrics:
Alternatively, as a quick guide, these are the NON VEGAN fabrics I find MOST COMMON when shopping & I’d be sure to avoid these when ISO vegan garments.
My Favourite Sustainable Vegan Fabrics:
From any of the vegan fabrics listed above, or in vintage, thrifted or consigned pieces, as you’re helping to eliminate waste from landfill, and lessening the need to produce more garments altogether!
Differs from regular cotton, as no earth-harming pesticides or GMOs are used in its production. Plus it makes for the cosiest tees & sweaters!
Made from the flax plant, linen is a zero-waste material that requires very little energy, water & resources to produce. AND it’s recyclable and biodegradable. My gorgeous friend Samantha has written a much more in depth post about this sustainable fabric here.
Proven to actually improve soil quality and grown without the need for fertilizer or pesticides, Hemp is also known to be a durable, long wearing fabric.
Earth friendly as it is also derived from a grass requiring no fertilizer or pesticides, Bamboo is a favourite for its soft feel and moisture-wicking capabilities.
Hydro-Less denim factories utilize nano-bubble and Ozone-wash technologies to conserve water. Check out Canadian company Frank & Oak‘s Hydroless denim & selection of sustainably made basics (Note: not all are vegan, watch out for Merino, Wool & Cashmere!)
And that’s that! Hope this article was helpful. Would love to know your fabric & fashion questions, or thoughts in the comments, as this can be a real grey area for those who are new!